Thursday, February 26, 2015

Purim Parties of the South Bay

Lots of Purim Parties coming up next week and weekend.  Here's what I have for you to consider:

Temple Menorah- Dr. Seuss Party
Wednesday March 4, 2015
6:30pm Megillah reading
$20/family for dinner

Sunday, March 8, 2015
Purim Carnival

JCC- Beach Cities- Brooklyn Party
Wednesday, March 4 2015
5pm for Dinner & Megillah reading
$20/person for dinner
$10/child kids ages 3-11 (prepay)

Congregation Ner Tamid- Back to the Future
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
6pm Dinner and movie screening
$5/person for dinner

Temple Akiba- Traditional
Sunday. March 1, 2015
Traditional Purim Carnival
Tickets needed for game booths.

Congregation Tikvat Jacob
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
6:30pm for dinner & Megillah reading
Dinner included.  Costume contest for Kids and adults

Temple Shalom of the South Bay
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Community Purim Party

Monday, February 23, 2015

An Easy Purim Craft

Sometimes I don't have time to do something crazy creative for the holidays. Especially for Purim, when it feels like I honestly have just finally put away everything from Halloween and Chanukah just yesterday. (No, seriously, I found another dreidel inside the couch!).

So here is something that almost every Mom (or Dad, or Grandparent!) can put together in about 5 minutes to engage the kiddos in the Purim Story.  It requires so little, I'm almost willing to bet you $5 that you have these items at your house- or something similar that would work really well.

1 piece of card stock like paper
1 straw or handle (Popsicle stick? plastic knife?)
1 pen
1 pair of scissors
Crayons or markers for coloring

To Do:

  1. Draw a simple sketch of a Queen Vashti, Queen Esther, Mordechai or Haman.  EG chose Queen Esther.

  1. Cut out the drawing, around the basic face.
  2. Let the kiddos color to their hearts content (EG colored both sides)
  1. Cut out the eyes
  2. Attach the handle
  3. Play!

Not into making your own drawing?  Print out this printable crown from Chai and Home- what cute little Hamentaschen!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Telling (or Not) the story of Purim

Old & New by Lindsey McCormack
I've been trying to tell EG the story of Purim now for a few days.  She's got the basics (you should hear her say Mordechai, so proud!) but it's the nuances I'm having a hard time telling.  The Purim story isn't all giggles and happiness.  In fact, it's one of those iffy stories that I'm almost to worried to tell her.  If this were a Disney movie, you can bet I wouldn't be taking her to see it.  Let's review:

The Killings:

  1. The first thing that happens in the story is drunken debauchery.  The second thing is the killing of the queen.  Who did nothing except decide that she wouldn't parade around naked in front of strangers because her husband told her to.  I totally want EG to be Vashti, except that death thing.  How do you explain that death thing?
  2. Murder plots to kill the King.  I'm not saying I'm a fan of King Ahasuerus, but murdering the man in power.  Not exactly a message I want EG to get in her mind.  Mutiny in the household anyone? Then a few lines later we hang these people from a tree.  Okay, they were bad guys, but it's a lot of killing.
  3. We hang Haman from the gallows that are intended for the Mordechai.  Okay, that might be fine, he's the bad guy here.  But what about the looting, pillaging and death the Jews exact upon the rest of the city.  Sure, the King says he couldn't reverse his decree, so we had to fight back.  That might seem fine, except we did more than protect ourselves.  According to the story we went out deliberately to kick some butt.  We killed and killed and killed.  Then we did it again on the second day.

The Lies: 

  1. Mordechai and Esther are husband and wife.  Or at least Rashi says they were. So, so so many things wrong with this message.  That you can just abandon your wife or that the vows you took on your wedding day can be annulled for a little while because it's convenient for you.
  2. Esther is a Jew.  You know this, I know this, and she knows this.  Yet somehow when she decides to enter this beauty contest to marry the king (you know, as an already married woman should) and then just not mention it.  And it's not like this wasn't something that should have been brought up.  She chooses to deliberately withhold this information, like it's something we should hide about ourselves.
The Treatment of Women:
  1. I've already discussed the unjust murder of Vashti, so that's square one.  But beyond that, we start out with a beauty contest to determine the next queen.  Not that beauty contests are a problem, per se.  It's the fact that this is a legitimate and believable way to choose a queen or a mate that I have issues with.  I don't want EG thinking that the most important part of her is her looks. (of course, the research says I shouldn't tell her she's smart either...)
  2. The fact that Esther has to wine and dine her man to make a request also seems a bit trite to me.  Yes, you can explain it away that he's not really her man, Mordechai is.  But then we've come full circle to the problems of women in this story.
But at the end of the day, it does have at least one redeeming factor: The Heroine...Esther initially doesn't want to do anything.  She tells Mordechai that she can't go in front of the King without death.  And he tells her that he's not worried.  His faith in G-d is so great that he knows that somehow they will be saved.  She responds that she will take the plunge, but that she won't go it alone.  This is where things get interesting, and the morals behind the tale take on a surprising turn towards the good.

Esther must approach the King by herself.  Only she can speak the words to him.  Only she can attempt to sway him.  However, before she does so, she asks that everyone in the community fast for three nights and days.  They they join with her, and help her in spirit to accomplish her task.  

The moral of the day, or at least the one I'll be trying to get across to EG this year, is that just because you are scared doesn't mean you can't do it.  Just because you think you can't doesn't mean that when others join with you, that you can't.  You can stand-up. You can have help.  You can overcome.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Divide and Conquer

I'd written this entire post about how we've dealt with having two children.  How we've sort of ended up with a makeshift 'divide and conquer' strategy, rather than the previous 'we are one' strategy that we used to have.  I was going to say that I think it's terrible, and it makes me sad.  But with Working Dad being sick tonight, I'm feeling the pain of not having my right hand man doing his part.

There are so many moments when we are parenting when we are focused on our children.  Which, of course, as parents are almost all consuming.  Especially the parents of an 'I still eat at night and need to be held because I can't walk' 7 month old baby.  And though Working Dad and I do a decent job of date nights (speaking of which, the Growing Garden Gala event is this Saturday night, which is an AWESOME kosher date night if you are interested) and a decent job of trying to connect, but sometimes it feels like we haven't had any sort of real connection for days.

It's a hard thing to think about- because I fundamentally believe that the basis of good parenting is a good relationship between the two people who created the child.  While I realize that's not always possible, I feel like my first obligation is to the man I married, not to the children we created.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

Tonight, I'm sitting here alone since Working Dad has another cold.  We just can't seem to keep healthy this season.  But sitting here alone isn't the sad part. It's looking around the kitchen and realizing all the little things that he usually does at night.  Put away Ochos' bathtub, clean the bumbo seat.  Take out the trash and clean up my mess from making dinner.  He's the other half of my entire equation.

So, I think I've changed my mind about 'divide and conquer.'  Sometimes it takes two to tango...or keep a house with two kids running with gas.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Egg-less Challah

This week I've invited over a friend who has a son with a bunch of allergies.  As allergies are nothing new in my household (shout-out to my sister-in-law and oldest nephew) I knew that I wanted to make a meal that everyone could enjoy.

Her son has an allergy to dairy and egg, and she has an allergy to wheat.  Well, I did try to look up a celiac's recipe for challah, but didn't find anything that looked good.  I was given some new flour thats supposed to be not only delicous buy is certified Kosher and wheat-free, so I'm looking forward to using that sometime soon.

But I did find a great egg-less challah recipe that I'm excited to take a gander at.  It's from this blog called the Challah Blog, which isn't really still up, but it's got a great archive of recipes and braiding techniques for those who are into it. 

3 C flour
1/4 cup plus 1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 C natural oil (vegetable or canola)
1 1/4 C Water
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) to 1 Tbsp dry yeast
Optional: Maple Syrup for an egg-free shine

As usual, proof your yeast in warm water with a bit of sugar.  Add oil, then water, salt and sugar.  Mix it all up.  If it's too wet add flour, too sticky add water or oil.

Let it rise at least an hour.

Punch down and braid.  Let rise again for an hour

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

It didn't really turn out that delicious, but in a pinch it would totally do for an egg-less friend.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Purim Around the Blogisphere

Purim is coming up in just a few weeks, on March 4th.  I'll be sharing some thoughts on the holiday, as well as my usual Purim Carnival round-up, but I wanted to share a bit about what some other bloggers are doing...

Tori Avery Image

Food wise, Joy of Kosher Jamie Geller has a nice Persian Menu for your Purim feast.  I think it looks delicious, and I'm sure would be quite tasty.  Any time you eat lamb is a wonderful meal in my mind.

Deni at Chai and Home has some artful ways to make your Purim basket of goodies shine.  For me, part of the wonder of this holiday is the treats you get to make for others, and displaying them beautifully is such a great part of that.

Even though this is from last year, Creative Jewish Mom has some awesome toilet paper roll dolls.  These would be so perfect for my EG, since she loves puppets and anything interactive really gets the stories across so much easier.

Tori Avery has a great guest post with some awesome Purim Finger puppets.  They include an amazing printable made by Secret Agent Josephine, and would be even easier for those who are a touch less crafty.  All you need is a color printer.  I think I might try these on my Cricuit- which can print and cut all at once!

I'll be trying to branch out into the Jewish Blogging world more and more. Have a Purim idea you'd like to share, feel free to leave me a comment and I'll add it to the list!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Valentines Day- Crafts for the Kiddos

Ah Valentines Day.  A nebulous historically Christian holiday whose current form is so far from it's religious traditions we're tempted to call it an American Holiday.  With it being on Saturday night this year, the hallmarkism of America went into overdrive. What better time to brave the crazy crowds at a restaurant then this hallow of forced love...

We didn't celebrate Valentines Day yesterday. We sang Shabbat songs and enjoyed time as a family, as we do most Shabbats.  They don't celebrate it in EG's school, but never-the-less, there are a few crafts that I think are PERFECT for the holiday that we did do...


This is a great little thing to do, and I love the idea of making hearts every year to see how the girls have grown.  Sort of like making Christmas ornaments, but not quite as Christian, just fun and nice, and something I can display and they can have as keepsakes.

1 cup salt
2 cups flour
about 1 cup water

Make it into a nice dough, then roll it out or pat it down.  Have the kiddos step into the dough, then cut around it to make a cute heart shape.  You can try to get a bit more of a heart shape out of the feet, but I found that too difficult for me to really do.  Dry overnight, then put in the oven on warm while it dries out.  I think I might paint them once it's dry, and I'll definitely add the date and ages of the kiddos.

This dough is great and easy, and also not something toxic, so totally good for Ocho too!

Here's EG's after she stepped in it....

 And little Ocho feet- this was fun to do, but also really difficult.  I had to have EG distract Ocho with a toy so she wouldn't press her feet into the ground to much. Even like this, it's a bit hard.

The next project is one that we actually did for a Christmas present, but I thought I would finally share it here, since it's perfect for this holiday.  I got the idea from my sister, but it was so much fun making it myself.

The hand is EG's and the footprints are Ochos.  I love that it's both girls together, and though it was a bit hard to get them nice, it turned out really well!  I also LOVE that EG's handprint has a mini heart inside too!

Buy a canvas- I recommend at least 8x10
Get washable fingerpainting paints
Paint onto one hand, press onto canvas
Paint onto one foot at a time, then press onto canvas.

I recommend letting each image dry before adding the next one.

Then just add the "L" and the "E".   So easy and so cute!

The last one is a glitter fest!  EG loves to give hugs and high fives, so this was a 'virtual' hug with her hands that she made.  Then we painted on some glue and made each of her handprints a different glitter color.

Again, doing this project yearly also lets you see how the kiddos grow!

Hope you enjoy these fun projects!

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